Uncategorized

Monarchists, Neo-Reactionaries and Neo-Fascism

Unfortunately, some folks on the rightist end of libertarianism, anarcho-capitalism, or “anarchism of the right” have been veering off into this neo-reactionary, nostalgic monarchist, or neo-fascist stuff just as some on the left end of anarchism and libertarianism have veered off into social democracy (Chomsky), totalitarian humanism (the antifa anarchists), and cultural Marxism (C4SS). This is an important critique of deviations into authoritarian rightism by Noah Millman.

By Noah Millman

The American Conservative

epSos.de / Flickr

Okay, I’ll take Rod Dreher’s bait. What do I think of neo-reactionaries and American monarchists? I’ll tell you.

First of all, I would distinguish between three arguments for democracy as a political system, because I only really believe in two of them, while pretty thoroughly rejecting the third. But I believe in the two remaining arguments very strongly.

The argument that I reject is the idea that democracy is the only form of government in which the “people’s will” rules – and, as such, is the only legitimate form of government. I don’t believe “the people” have a will (only individuals do), and I don’t think an authority’s legitimacy derives from some kind of fundamental theory. Rather, I take the Burkean view that an authority’s legitimacy is an observed reality and has more to do with longevity than with being derived from any particular principle. As such, a longstanding monarchy is perfectly capable of being a legitimate authority. So is the government of Communist China. So, in a much more tenuous and provisional sense, is the authority of a local Somali or Afghan warlord.

The two arguments for democracy that I strongly endorse come from opposite directions, but are complementary, in my view, not contradictory. The first is the notion that participating in the process of self-government is elevating in and of itself, and, as such, every people should aspire to republicanism. What I have in mind is something like Hannah Arendt’s view as articulated in On Revolution. There is a real question whether imperial-scale entities like the United States, or even entities as large as the traditional European nation-states, can achieve this particular republican good, or whether you max out at the scale of a large city-state.

READ MORE

Categories: Uncategorized

20 replies »

  1. I share your disquiet at some aspects of the libertarian borderlands. On the other hand, if some beyond those borderlands incorporate some libertarian insights, we all may benefit. The important thing is to keep the libertarian mainstream focussed on the struggle for individual freedom.

  2. It’s definitely a tightrope walk. Of course, I’m very much in favor of reaching out to all sorts of other ideological communities and trying to inject some libertarian ideology in their midst, and for expanding all of the hyphenated forms of libertarianism as well. In fact, I’m a vocal proponent of this approach.

    However, the other side of the issue is when the hyphens and external affiliations start taking precedence over the libertarian struggle itself, which is usually what happens in these borderland milieus, both on the left and on the right.

  3. I certainly have no love for neo-reaction which is really just a bunch of half-wit sexually frustrated young men ranting on the internet, but don’t be to hard on the neo-monarchist’s after all it is our well beloved Bill Lind that started that trend. I mean come on who does not love the pomp and regalia of a royal house?

  4. I am myself a monarchist. On the other hand, I do live under one, and it seems less pretentious to defend parts of an existing order than to want to set one up from scratch.

  5. “On the other hand, I do live under one, and it seems less pretentious to defend parts of an existing order than to want to set one up from scratch.”

    But in the states we really don’t have any social order, so inventing one seems to be necessary.

  6. “I certainly have no love for neo-reaction (sic) which is really just a bunch of half-wit sexually frustrated young men ranting on the internet,” says the trad-con Christian moralist. Right. (He-he.)

    Strange thing. I discovered Alt-right.com and Takis Mag through Attack the System back in 2009. And I discovered Moldbug, and thus NRx, through Alt-right.com over a year ago. I pretty much consider myself a neoreactionary now (though I’m sure many in NRx might consider me “entryist” or something).

    And now Attack the System is flashing a “warning, beware” sign to any Right /Nietzschean anarchists who might be influenced or impressed by this NRx stuff. It’s unfortunate that ATS chose this piece to slander the Dark Enlightenment. Pan-archism and Pan-secessionism, as I’ve expressed to Nick Land, are entirely compatible with Moldbug’s notion of “patchwork”. Rather than go over all the fallacies in this piece by The American Conservative, I’ll simply suggest that, if you’re really interested, you should read Land, Moldbug, LaLiberte (among others) for yourself. Several NRx writers have already posted critiques of this hit-piece. You can find them online if you’re really interested.

    What would The American Conservative have to say in an article about Attack the System or the writings of Keith Preston? I’d take such an article about ATS, by The American Conservative, as seriously as I do the one posted above on NRx.

    Moreover, this American Conservative piece is mainly attacking monarchism, not NRx. But the fact that he conflates the two so easily reveals a lack of care on his part to deal with these ideas. There may be monarchists in NRx, but not all neoreactionaries espouse a return to throne and altar monarchy. It’s more dynamic than that. (And then this trouble leads us to the debate about whether one is part of NRx or just a reactionary, as we see here:
    http://www.xenosystems.net/caste/#more-4041).

    Of course–I suppose most readers here know already but–an excellent (libertarian/right-anarchist/anarcho-capitalist/proto-NRx) text to check out in defense of monarchy against democracy is Hoppe’s “Democracy: The God that Failed”.

    It’s true that there are (sort of) hyphenated forms of NRx (as there are in anarchism and libertarianism). For example, there’s a “Dark Triad” that must be addressed by those who identify with NRx. The trichotomy includes Traditionalists, (Ethno-) Nationalists, and Techno-Commercialists. Pretty much the holy trinity of pure evil to any angelic, modern Progressive. Nevertheless, there’s already been a LOT of in-fighting among these three corners of the triad. Oh, well. I’m okay with that. Personally, I sit in the corner of the Tech-Coms. But if pan-secessionism is the goal, then, ahem, “Diversity is our strength”.

    Consider that no one can agree on what the “libertarian struggle” is, then what’s the problem?

    I believe it was Sean Gabb (or was it Brett Stevens?) who wrote a sound article not too long ago about how our fight–if there is any “our”–needs to be defined in negative terms. There’s never going to be any unity for a positive vision of the future. That’s just not possible. There’s too much intellectual diversity. (And, as I said, I actually happen to think that’s a good thing, as does Keith, I think.) So, anyone (within reason) who has been cast out of polite modern Western society as a godless, evil heathen, that is, anyone who is NOT a Progressive, is my ally. Anyone who wishes to destroy the Cathedral, however much I may disagree with him on other issues regarding government or society or culture, for now, is my friend. There are alliances, even if they’re only temporary, to be made. C4SS is not NRx, and neither are the National Anarchists, but that doesn’t mean that the enlightened, heavenly forces of Progress wouldn’t mind destroying all three movements.

    I’m sure Keith understands that point. And I hope Attack the System would consider posting a link that is a bit more honest and critical of what NRx really is or entails, philosophically, culturally and politically. There’s lots to choose from out there. We are legion.

    Here’s Bryce Laliberte’s NRx Canon: https://anarchopapist.wordpress.com/neoreactionary-canon/

    Here’s Land on the Trichotomy: http://www.xenosystems.net/trichotomy/

    And because I consider myself to be a sort of “Nietzschean anarchist,” out of respect for Todd Lewis’ comments, which I usually enjoy reading on ATS (except for the one he made above about ppl in NRx), here’s an endarkened post he might find interesting:

    http://occamsrazormag.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/is-christianity-inherently-left-wing-and-egalitarian/

    Thank you. (How’s that for a rant!)

    -Dale Rooster

  7. I don’t disagree with much that you’ve said. But my qualification would be that I’m a proponent of “Anarchy First!” (see my “Liberty and Populism” essay) before I’m anything else, whether left, right, or center. In the last few years I have noticed plenty of “former libertarians” or “former anarchists” veering off into outright right-wing authoritarianism, statist nationalism, neo-fascism, theocracy or other comparable trends.

    I obviously share your disdain for authoritarian and state-centric progressivism, as well as the generally puritanical attitudes associated with political correctness. In fact, I’ve made a de facto intellectual career out of attacking it. I consider PC to be the contemporary equivalent of what the religious right was in the 80s and 90s.

    Of course, there are anarchists and libertarians who seem to be sincere opponents of the state and the ruling class and who simultaneously embrace many of the ideas and attitudes associated with PC (the C4SS folks are a good example). My primary criticism of many PC libertarians and anarchists is that the PC often comes before the anarchism. I find it perfectly acceptable to be a PC anarchist who sincerely opposes the state. I might disagree with it (just as I disagree with anarcho-primitivism while recognizing it as a legitimate branch of anarchism). I might think it’s a strategic mistake as well. But that’s my problem.

    Likewise, it’s fine to be a “neo-reactionary” anarchist as well, or a national-anarchist, anarcho-nationalist, religious anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, techno-anarchist, etc. But I have no interest in replacing the present liberal-progressive authoritarian state with some kind of right-wing authoritarian state. Nor am I interested in replacing PC moral crusading with anything comparable from the right.

  8. “says the trad-con Christian moralist. Right. (He-he.)”

    Next time you build the worlds greatest civilization, on the crack-pottery of the dark enlightenment, let me know.

  9. “A Tolkienesque “anarcho-monarchy” may well be the solution for England.”

    Yeah. Long live the shire!

  10. That said, I think I’ve made it clear repeatedly that I am interested in forming tactical alliances with anyone who is opposed to the current system, with the exception of any group that possesses the political and military capabilities of imposing a worse centralized regime than the one we have now. I don’t have much interest in a revolution that merely replaces totalitarian humanism with actual fascism or actual communism or an Islamic caliphate. I don’t see how that would be an improvement from any kind of reasonable libertarian or anarchist point of view.

    To the degree that political organizations reflecting such views are powerless enough to prevent them from seizing control of the military or the central government, or establishing a regime of their own beyond the level of isolated enclaves, clusters of rural counties, or an occasional city-state, it may be worthwhile to court them as allies against the system depending on the circumstances.

    But there’s a difference between pursuing what I’ve described above as a tactic and actually advocating fascism or some kind of right-wing authoritarianism, as some right-wing defectors from libertarianism or anarchism have done.

  11. “out of respect for Todd Lewis’ comments, which I usually enjoy reading on ATS”

    Which comments in particular? Or rather which subjects?

  12. @ Keith, I guess it depends on what you mean by “fascism”. Mussolini? (Come on. Was he really that bad?) Okay. How about a small anarcho-capitalist city-state floating on the ocean, dreamed up by Patri Friedman, and directed (would “maintained” be a better word?) by Peter Thiel? Is that fascism? Is that neo-fascism? If so, then sign me up and hand me a blackshirt as I hop aboard, comrade!

    I tend to agree with Moldbug that, though totalitarian systems are necessarily authoritarian, authoritarian systems need not necessarily be totalitarian. A sovereign could have a very hands-off approach to ruling. Indeed, a monarch might even consider it vulgar and beneath him to involve himself in the affairs of what or how the people eat, drink, smoke, fornicate and how they make a living. (But absolute authority, at least regarding affairs of the state, would still reside with him, hence “authoritarian”.)

    Or, he could act like Obama, Stalin or Kim Jong-cock-sucker. A lot depends on what sort of sovereign you get or want. And at this point, I’d probably cheer my ass off if, say, Rand Paul were to win the general election, on the condition that he 1) dissolve the rest of the US government, starting with Congress, besides the US military; 2) dissolve all state and local governments, providing local opportunities for a reboot.

    But that’s not going to happen. So fuck him and fuck voting. (Let’s support Obama for a third term!)

    I believe you and even Crispin Sartwell in places have both tacitly or directly conceded that governments arise from “the iron law of hierarchy”. Thus the anarcho-communists (ancoms) always fail to admit that, after Occupy Wall St. destroys capitalism and the evil patriarchy, they would install an entirely new, and different, hierarchical order, whose ultimate goal would be to enforce their metaphysics of Equality onto everyone else, and they would probably call it democracy.

    In other words, I think the “nature abhors a vacuum” problem is a real stinker for us anarchists of all stripes. Some in NRx, such as Michael Annissimov, are actually creating homestead-like anarchistic communities (that probably would adamantly reject the anarchist label…nevertheless). Jack Donovan recommends a similar tactic by becoming “men within the state but not of the state” (or something like that—you get the picture). Are those ideas…”fascist”?

    Hierarchies evolve and develop from the bottom up, some good, others bad, a lot mixed. Were Jesus still alive and decided that it’s time for the USG to be destroyed internally by financial ruin (or whatever), I’m guessing that’s exactly what would happen–new hierarchies would arise in the place of USG. And writers in NRx, like many of the articles archived here, are discussing (at times vehemently) among themselves and others in the alternative right 1) how to help dissolve the Cathedral if it’s possible, 2) what to do then, 3) why Progressivism is a social disease that should be exterminated with gas chambers, concentration camps and total war.

    NRx is not concerned with reforming the current neoliberal global order. It wants exit (secession), not democracy (voice). And if there’s a vacuum to fill, my bet is that the chance for individual freedom and spontaneous order to flourish would be much greater if we installed a new and improved Hitler to execute all of our enemies without trial, kill all the JYOOOOZZZ and conquer the world…right?

    @ Todd Lewis: We’ve sparred once or twice in the past when you first appeared on the ATS scene, about a year and a half ago now, I believe. And then you were on a podcast with Keith shortly afterward that I enjoyed. You are an admirable opponent and thoughtful commentator. To disregard NRx the way you have is beneath you, and your super-powers in the anarcho-Christian tradition should provide you with plenty of strength to articulate a better argument against the Dark Enlightenment. But I warn you, you can’t stop the shadowy, evil forces of NRx. Our hatred and anger make us powerful. Feel the dark side of the Force. Embrace your hatred. It makes you grow stronger!

    (I.e., Here are some evil NRx blogs that you might find to your liking:

    http://blog.jim.com/

    https://www.traditionalright.com/ )

    -DR

  13. “To disregard NRx the way you have is beneath you, and your super-powers in the anarcho-Christian tradition should provide you with plenty of strength to articulate a better argument against the Dark Enlightenment.”

    That is probably true, but I saw a really talented philosopher totally crash and burn when he went for the DE and I got tiered of people bitching about their problems with women. Completely surreptitiously in an otherwise good article their would be some sexual angst that I thought that was pointless to the entire article.

    “Embrace your hatred. It makes you grow stronger!”

    Totally the best seen from star wars. But as Luke said, “Never, I’ll never turn to the dark side.”

  14. “Keith, I guess it depends on what you mean by “fascism”.”

    I grant that there are revisionist or “alternative” definitions of fascism, but I use the term in the conventional sense of an authoritarian, corporatist police state which is what fascism normally turns out to be in real life practice.

    “Mussolini? (Come on. Was he really that bad?)”

    He wasn’t Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot but he was still “bad.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benito_Mussolini#Police_state

    I’ll also grant there are some in alternative right circles who romanticize Mussolini just like there are leftists who idolize Fidel and Che. But their veneration is misguided and misplaced.

    “How about a small anarcho-capitalist city-state floating on the ocean, dreamed up by Patri Friedman, and directed (would “maintained” be a better word?) by Peter Thiel? Is that fascism? Is that neo-fascism?”

    No.

    “A sovereign could have a very hands-off approach to ruling. Indeed, a monarch might even consider it vulgar and beneath him to involve himself in the affairs of what or how the people eat, drink, smoke, fornicate and how they make a living. (But absolute authority, at least regarding affairs of the state, would still reside with him, hence “authoritarian”.)”

    I suppose so. But it usually doesn’t work out that way. I’m familiar Hans Hermann Hoppe’s theories on this. In fact, I wrote an extensive review of DTGTF when it came out and praised it to the high heavens. That said, there’s not going to be a monarchy in the USA.

    “I’d probably cheer my ass off if, say, Rand Paul were to win the general election, on the condition that he 1) dissolve the rest of the US government, starting with Congress, besides the US military; 2) dissolve all state and local governments, providing local opportunities for a reboot.”

    So would I with the qualification that the military is as much a part of the problem as any other institution.

    “I believe you and even Crispin Sartwell in places have both tacitly or directly conceded that governments arise from “the iron law of hierarchy”. Thus the anarcho-communists (ancoms) always fail to admit that, after Occupy Wall St. destroys capitalism and the evil patriarchy, they would install an entirely new, and different, hierarchical order, whose ultimate goal would be to enforce their metaphysics of Equality onto everyone else, and they would probably call it democracy.”

    Which is why no one can be trusted with state power, not even anarchists, and why we need to disperse and decentralize power as much as possible.

    “In other words, I think the “nature abhors a vacuum” problem is a real stinker for us anarchists of all stripes.”

    I agree.

    “Some in NRx, such as Michael Annissimov, are actually creating homestead-like anarchistic communities (that probably would adamantly reject the anarchist label…nevertheless). Jack Donovan recommends a similar tactic by becoming “men within the state but not of the state” (or something like that—you get the picture). Are those ideas…”fascist”?

    No. Certainly not in and of themselves.

    “And writers in NRx, like many of the articles archived here, are discussing (at times vehemently) among themselves and others in the alternative right 1) how to help dissolve the Cathedral if it’s possible, 2) what to do then, 3) why Progressivism is a social disease that should be exterminated with gas chambers, concentration camps and total war.”

    1 & 2=Excellent!. As for 3=Yawn…

    “my bet is that the chance for individual freedom and spontaneous order to flourish would be much greater if we installed a new and improved Hitler to execute all of our enemies without trial, kill all the JYOOOOZZZ and conquer the world…right?”

    No.

  15. @ Keith: Please, lighten up, man. Dear Lord. What fun is NRx or anarchy (or alternative right politics) if you can’t joke about gas chambers, Hitler, Il Duce and genocide?

    Well, you don’t know me. I could be a Prog from the Guardian or HuffPo or something, so I understand the very straight forward, totally serious replies. You can never be too sure who’s a enforcing thought-crimes these days. And a fickle, baseless accusation of committing thought-crimes, as we all know, is the classical definition of “due process,” which shall be carried out by the media, the masses and Eric Holder.

    My point is simply that NRx deserves a fair shot. That’s all. As do your pan-secessionism ideas. You already know what it’s like to be called a fascist. I expect our (culture and political) rulers will, as you’ve predicted, escalate the PC intolerance with every passing day, and they’ll do so by claiming that anything they disagree with is “fascist,” which is extremist hate-speech, and must be suppressed and censored, because we’ve progressed beyond the First Amendment, which was written by a bunch of dead, white, heterosexual, cis-genered males with slaves and functioning, natural testicles.

    Anyhow, we’re pretty much just debating semantics now, which will be decided for us in the near future by The People, praise be to Science, to remind us that we’re both fascists or “neo-fascists” and that we can work out the details or any definitional skirmishes indefinitely together behind bars or in a labor camp while Chris Matthews reeducates us as Director of the Ministry of Truth, a position to which Noah Millman would apply, but will be denied despite his appeasement to our Prog friends with his repulsive “Me-too” Republicanism, on his knees, begging for redemption, which is exactly where most Republicans belong.

    Thank you for the replies, and I hope you’ll post a little more on NRx–or better, NRx by neoreactionaries–in the future because don’t forget we’re all fascists now. (And really, why not appropriate the slander since it’s all they got? PROG: “Hey, what you just said was racist, sexist and fascist!” HERETIC: “Well, yeah. So, what? Heil Hitler, bitch. (makes roman salute).” PROG: Spits with rage, head begins to spin, face partially melting off from the heat of thermonuclear double-super-offended-wow-just-wow meltdown.)

    I’ll see y’all at the gulag!

  16. Though I find it more or less impossible to get along with anyone, the NRx is most congenial in terms of its mentality and ecclecticism to something like a voluntarist Hindutva-derived eugenics experiment-cum-protection agency, something which is probably more realistic than the ‘security corporations’ or anarchic militias conceived of by people who think of primarily crime and civil order – if you legalize a military aristocracy, you will get one. If you do not you are bound to get a worse one. It’s more ‘Tradition’ types who I wish would abstaining from idealising Carlists and Nationalistas fetisho llzing the NSDAP that embaress attempts to talk about aspirational and practical elements of eugenic engineering, and these do seem to form a majority of the NRx these days. I am totally out of sympathy with their ‘collectivist’ projects to turn Europeans into a bunch of Chinese Jews (not that I mind these people in principle), and their anti-capitalist (esp. Protectionist) nonsense. Offending people just for th@@3‰

  17. Offending people just for the Hell of it by Steelmanning Catholic patriarchs, etc. I understand, but I think far too many of the NRx ‘right’ (if it’s even sensible to speak about a Right among political hipsters) are engaged in the same rewriting of economics and heredity that the NeoCommies pulled last century, if in a different tangent. Also I hate that so much of their Gnon-talk is how to pander to idiots to cajole them into obedience, I say let’s just take all the AnCap Jews and Korean merchants and buy a bunch of fucking machine guns, screw mass politics.

Leave a Reply